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How to Teach About Changes Over Time to Kindergarten Children

by Carolyn Robbins

Kindergarteners often have difficulty understanding the abstract concept of time. Your child might tell you about a birthday party she's attending "tomorrow," which is actually weeks in the future. Or, she might reminisce about a trip to the zoo "yesterday," which actually happened months ago. Hands-on activities will make it easier for your kindergartener to grasp change over time.

Allow your child to play with a clock. Show her how to move the minute and hour hands. Ask her to watch the clock on the wall and tell you when a minute passes.

Flip through a photo album together. Show your kindergartener how she looked as a newborn and how she's grown since. She might also enjoy giggling over pictures of you when you were in high school. Ask your child to draw a picture of what she imagines she'll look like as an adult.

Set up a science experiment. Put a long-stemmed carnation in a vase and add 10 to 20 drops of food coloring to the water. Explain that the flower will slowly "drink" the colored water. Instruct your child to check on the flower every few hours. She can take pictures to document the change over time. It will take approximately 24 hours for the flower to reach its full color.

Plant seeds to show your child change over a longer period of time. Put your kindergartener in charge of watering the plants and ask her to draw pictures of the seeds as they germinate, grow and begin to produce vegetables or flowers.

Go stargazing once a month on the weekend. Your kindergartener will be thrilled by a later bedtime -- and you can show her how the constellations change with the seasons. Explain that the earth makes a full rotation on its axis once every 24 hours and travels around the sun once a year.

Talk about the future. Pick an event that your child anticipates such as her birthday, Christmas or summer vacation. Help her count the number of days remaining until the event on a calendar. Make a paper chain with a link for each day so that she has a hands-on way to mark the passage of time.

Tip

  • If you live in a four-season climate, teach your child about yearly weather changes. Build a snow fort, go for a spring hike, camp in the summer and collect colorful leaves in the fall so she'll have a memory for every season.

About the Author

Carolyn Robbins began writing in 2006. Her work appears on various websites and covers various topics including neuroscience, physiology, nutrition and fitness. Robbins graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology and theology from Saint Vincent College.

Photo Credits

  • Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images